In the latest edition of 50 Best’s global gastronomic travel series, Turkish culinary guide Cemre Torun takes on a gourmet trip around beautiful Bodrum
Surrounded by the turquoise waters, Türkiye’s world-renowned Bodrum peninsula offers a fascinating mix of barefoot tranquillity and sparkling glamour. Its natural beauty – with luscious bougainvillea blooms, fragrant citrus trees and idyllic views of sun-kissed coves – is matched by the variety of its culinary offerings. Aside from authentic experiences like colourful meze spreads and satisfying comfort foods, there is an unparalleled selection of upscale international brands as well as chef-driven local dining.
Charming resort towns and villages dot the area, each offering a different set of historical, natural and gastronomic treasures. It is possible to explore them all within a short stay, but make sure to leave a bit of time in the gourmet tour to kick back by the sea, explore the nearby coves by boat and swim in the beautiful azure waters of the Aegean. Here is our selection of dining and drinking destinations over 50 hours on the peninsula.
Kesire Mevkii, Narçiçeği Sokak, Göltürkbükü/Bodrum 48400
+90 252 311 2424 / +90 252 311 2400
Maçakızı is effectively three destinations in one: a highly rated hotel, gourmet restaurant and dreamy beach club. The beautifully understated rooms open to a lush landscape overlooking turquoise waters and every corner of the space is carefully designed to provide relaxation, privacy or a buzzing atmosphere, depending on the time of day and what you’re after. Helmed by owner Sahir Erozan, Maçakızı is a perfect example of contemporary luxury: dazzling yet chill, nostalgic yet progressive.
Istanbul-born chef Aret Şahakyan has been working with Erozan for decades as the man behind the culinary offering at Maçakızı. Leisurely lunch buffets highlight bright seasonal salads as well as the hotel’s signature lahmacun, crispy mantı and homemade chocolate baklava. The à la carte menu features fine-tuned dishes like roasted beetroot with cave-aged cheese, asparagus and endives; sea bass served with white bean salad and fermented pepper sofrito; or grilled lamb chop over charred eggplant purée, yogurt mousse and chimichurri. Maçakızı’s beverage programme includes one of the most impressive wine lists in the region with top Turkish and international labels, as well as carefully crafted cocktails.
Bodrum Barlar Sokağı
Cumhuriyet Caddesi, Barlar Sokağı Bodrum/Muğla 48400
From carefree beachfront bars to booming all-night clubs, Bodrum’s nightlife is second to none. One way to experience it is through a dive into the winding cobbled streets of Bodrum’s Barlar Sokağı, literally meaning ‘the street of bars’. The long seaside promenade starts from Bodrum Castle and showcases lively spots that spill out into the sea, where you can enjoy an easy cocktail while watching the picture-perfect sunset with feet in the sand.
Kumbahçe Mah. Zeki Müren Cad. No:13/1 Bodrum / Muğla 48400
+90 252 316 4285 / +90 544 316 4285
Orfoz is indisputably one of the most beloved fish restaurants in Bodrum, if not the whole country. The menu is an ode to the variety of fish species and seafood of the region, carefully sourced, cooked and served by brothers Çağrı and Çağlar Bozçağa. Hailing from a seafood restaurant family, the brothers have succeeded in blending their knowledge and expertise with an innovative outlook. When not in the kitchen, they can be found in the market sourcing fresh produce or fishing themselves in the nearby coves for the day’s menu.
Slurp-worthy raw mantis shrimp, delicate house-smoked eel, sultry sea snails in wine and oven-baked mussels are just some of the signature dishes on the tasting menu. Orfoz also has a well-curated wine list, including its own natural wine label, Neferiye, made of heritage grapes. With taverna-style wooden tables, blue chairs, paper placemats and the family’s attentive service, Orfoz is both delicious and genuinely charming.
Kitchen at The Bodrum Edition
Dirmil Mahallesi, Balyek Caddesi, No:5/A Yalıkavak, Bodrum/ Muğla 48400
+90 252 311 3135
The Bodrum Edition, designed by Ian Schrager, is set in beautiful Yalıkavak at the western point of the peninsula. The al fresco dining options at the hotel have sweeping views of the Aegean Sea and serenely chic settings. Globally celebrated Peruvian chef Diego Muñoz is behind Brava, where local ingredients shine brightly in delicious, multi-layered dishes. Renowned Turkish chef Osman Sezener of Urla’s OD Urla heads up Kitchen, where the fresh, versatile and seasonal cooking of the region is further enhanced with a contemporary feel. At Kitchen, respect for local ingredients is palpable throughout the sharing plates and feast-like spreads. Look out for roasted eggplant with tahini, yogurt, blackberries and sweet lor cheese; clams with roasted cheese and simit crisps; baby artichokes cooked on embers; and salt-baked catch of the day with slow cooked celery root.
Lucca by the Sea
Sokak No. 12/1, Göltürkbükü, Bodrum/Muğla 48400
+90 535 452 8484
It is not an easy task to integrate great tasting food into a buzzing atmosphere with live music performances. Lucca by the Sea, a sister venue to Istanbul’s iconic and hugely influential bar and restaurant Lucca, manages that and more. Located in the grounds of the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, the space is filled to the brim with a young crowd in search of delicious dishes and highly efficient service in a lively setting. Lucca by the Sea has a chic retro feel with a wood-fired oven at its centre and tables as well as lounges right on the beach. The menu focuses on bright salads, sharing plates and wood-fired pizzas that are fun and moreish.
Dereköy Yolu No:133, Dereköy, Bodrum/Muğla 48960
+90 533 663 1087
A charming garden set in the village of Dereköy is home to one of the most exciting chef-driven restaurants in Bodrum. Chef Zişan Altınçaba’s cooking is innovative yet comforting, inspiring and well-balanced. Dedicated to sustainability, Dereköy sources all its ingredients from small producers and works in close cooperation with local farms. The hyper-seasonal menu is presented table-side on a blackboard with a focused yet satisfying array of cold and hot dishes. Tempting options include: creamy lentil fava with caramelised onions; flaky börek with cheese and honey; grilled octopus with sea samphire; tripe with burnt butter, rakı and smoked pepper; or mantı with beef ragu. After dinner, make sure to pop into the homeware store Leleg Living right next door for modern Turkish textiles, custom-made pottery and kitchen goods.
Çarşı, Külcü Sk. No:49, Bodrum/Muğla 48400
Food markets across Bodrum offer a rich array of fresh produce throughout the year. This is where locals and ingredient-focused restaurants source the best fruits, vegetables, foraged herbs and mushrooms, as well as all kinds of Aegean delicacies. There is a different food market on every day of the week in one of the towns on the peninsula. The Bodrum market on Fridays in the centre of town is one of the most favoured by professionals as it offers the widest selection of the freshest ingredients.
Yalı Mavkii No:104 Gümüşlük, Bodrum/Muğla 48400
+90 252 394 3139
Gümüşlük is a harbour village set among the ruins of ancient Myndos. It is known as the bohemian, laid-back, less glitzy town in the region. Artists, musicians and intellectuals retreat to this quiet tip of the peninsula, where casual fish restaurants line the shore with tables almost on the water. Mimoza is one of the longstanding spots, famous for its generous serves of traditional meze and fresh local seafood. Gümüşlük is a great stop for those who want to explore the nearby sights and the local artisanal shops. It is also a favourite for dinner, as the area is known for its legendary sunsets.
Explore Bodrum in 50 hours in the video:
Now read Cemre Torun’s gastronomic guide of Istanbul and find more of Türkiye's top restaurants and bars on 50 Best Discovery.
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